Demotions and Terminations Among Women During Pandemic

By: Eva Zelson
On: April 30, 2021

Businesswoman with Baby Working at Office

It’s fair to say that the pandemic has created difficult circumstances for everyone. But as we surpass the one-year anniversary of going into lockdown, social distancing, and closing businesses, one thing is becoming clear: women are being disproportionately adversely affected in the workforce by the pandemic. In fact, employment lawyers have reported an uptick in cases from women who have been demoted or fired from work because of childcare issues they’ve faced during the pandemic.

What are the Statistics for Women Leaving the Workforce Since the Beginning of the Pandemic?

Studies have begun to surface on this subject, and the disparity is clear. In one article, the Philadelphia Inquirer projected that since the pandemic began, women are three times more likely to leave their job in order to resolve issues related to childcare. As children were forced to stay home from school and daycare facilities, mothers found themselves struggling to keep their regularly scheduled work hours while still caring for their children. Even if alternative child care was an affordable option for everyone – which it isn’t – the pandemic instilled reasonable fear in many mothers that it just was not a safe option.

If this weren’t enough, studies have also shown that women also appear to be disproportionately affected by employers cutting jobs and layoffs. The same article pointed out that women typically worked in positions that were made redundant during the pandemic. Consequently, even if women weren’t torn over the decision to try to balance work with childcare, many employers made the decision for them, and either limited their hours or terminated their employment entirely. This has led female employees to consult employment lawyers to see if their treatment is legal.

Kids making noise and disturbing mom working at home

Why have Employment Lawyers Seen an Increase in the Number of Cases from Women Who say they have been Unfairly Terminated or Demoted?

Many women across the country have found it impossible to balance normal working hours with childcare. However, when these individuals try to negotiate reasonable alternatives with their employers, they are frequently met with inflexibility or outrageous demands. In many cases, female employees have reported that their employers respond with unrealistic demands that cannot be met due to childcare constraints. When the two sides spin their wheels, women often feel as though they have no other option but to quit. The result is that women are backed into a corner where they cannot fulfill their job duties to their fullest potential, and consequently, they are demoted, fired, or lose professional opportunities. Due to the notable increase in these instances, employment lawyers are seeing a startling increase in wrongful termination cases in Philadelphia, and across the rest of the country.

Have any of the Pandemic-Related Employment Lawsuits been Successfully Resolved?

The National Law Review estimates that across the country, over 2,500 pandemic-related employment lawsuits have been filed in the last year. Given that most lawsuits take about a year to resolve, the majority of these claims have not yet seen a resolution. However, there are some promising trends emerging. Most courts appear reluctant to simply dismiss these matters as “retaliation” by the employee against the employer for losing job opportunities. This is a good sign for individuals who want to challenge their employers’ actions. Consult with an employment lawyer to discuss the specifics if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Workaholic mom too busy at work and ignores her kid

What are Some Possible Childcare Solutions to Allow Women to Keep Working Through the Pandemic

Now that we have navigated through a year of the pandemic, and many childcare facilities and schools have developed ways to safely watch children, more and more parents are finding that they are able to rely on these institutions for childcare services. However, the reality is that many schools are still not open and for many parents, private childcare is simply not an affordable option. In these cases, one of the best options is to try and work with your employer to find an agreeable arrangement that will allow working parents to balance the needs of their children with their work duties. Whether it’s telecommuting, working flexible hours, or requiring extra sanitation so that women can safely come to work without fear of bringing the virus back home, there are options that can help working moms. However, if your employer seems to retaliate when you request accommodations, consult an employment lawyer.

When Should I Call an Employment Lawyer to Discuss My Workplace Lawsuit During the Pandemic?

If you have many numerous attempts to work with your employer to find a solution to disputes related to the workplace, but instead have been laid off, demoted, or feel as though lost employment opportunities, it is time to get in touch with an employment attorney. The employment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm can review the facts of your case, advise you of any actions you should take before filing your claim, and inform you of your options moving forward. In these difficult times, women and mothers should not be taking the brunt of the struggles. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


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